1911. Fitch writes in the Introduction: These short essays on the best old books in the world were inspired by the sudden death of an only son, without whom I had not thought life worth living. To tide me over the first weeks of bitter grief I plunged into this work of reviewing the great books from the Bible to the works of the eighteenth century writers. The suggestion came from many readers who were impressed by the fact that in the darkest hour of sorrow my only comfort came from the habit of reading, which Gibbon declared he would not exchange for the wealth of the Indies. If these essays induce any one to cultivate the reading habit, which has been so great a solace to me in time of trouble, then I shall feel fully repaid. Contents: Comfort Found in Good Old Books; The Greatest Book in the World; Shakespeare Stands Next to the Bible; How to Read the Ancient Classics; The Arabian Nights and Other Classics; The Confessions of St.
Augustine; Don Quixote, One of the World's Great Books; The Imitation of Christ; The Ruba-iyat of Omar Khayyam; The Divine Comedy by Dante; How to Get the Best Out of Books; Milton's Paradise Lost and Other Poems; Pilgrim's Progress the Finest of all Allegories; Old Dr. Johnson and His Boswell; and Robinson Crusoe and Gulliver's Travels.